How to Prepare for a Layoff: 19 Things To Do

Worried about an upcoming layoff at your company? In some cases, layoffs are announced a few weeks in advance, which gives people time to prepare (and panic) about the possibility of losing their job. Getting laid off can be a scary experience, but being prepared for one gives you an advantage while ensuring you’ll be fine. In this article, we’ll share how to prepare for a layoff.

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How to Prepare for a Layoff

Manage Your Finances

1. Build an emergency fund

To prepare for a layoff, you’ll need to create an emergency fund. If in a relationship, both yourself and your partner should create a joint emergency fund to put money into in case one or both of you lose your job. Putting a set amount of money into it for emergencies will allow you to be prepared for sudden expenses or a loss of income. You should consider putting 15% of your paycheck into an emergency fund. Avoid spending that income on splurge expenses or big purchases. Your emergency fund should only be used for true emergencies.

2. Pay off debts

Most people have debt on a credit card or line of credit. When you let debt linger, it makes you more vulnerable, especially if layoffs are possible in your industry. Losing a job while being unable to pay off your debts, bills, and mortgage/rent can cause catastrophe. While employed, pay off your credit card as quickly as possible. Credit cards have the highest interest rates. And if you lose your job and aren’t able to pay them off in full, the interest on them will cost you. By removing your everyday debts, you’ll have more accessible income to spend on emergency funds or savings. And you won’t have to worry about creditors chasing you for payments when money is super tight.

3. Create a budget

Creating a budget for a layoff can allow you to practice living on less income. If you’ve been hearing about layoffs possibly happening in your workplace through the grapevine, using your layoff budget while employed will be good practice for living below your means. Managing your spending habits before a layoff by sticking to a budget can help you grow your savings and pay off debts.

4. Build out income streams

While some employers dislike employees who have side hustles, having one can help protect you in case of a sudden layoff. Building out income streams can be done through a website you own, a tool you sell, a service you offer, a freelance gig, or by becoming an influencer or content creator. You can build these income streams on the weekend or evenings to help give you some extra income. Plus, by having an additional way to make money, when you lose your job you’ll still have money coming in, so the income loss won’t hurt as much.

5. Avoid impulse shopping

When it comes to preparing for a layoff, you’ll want to keep spending habits in control. This isn’t the time to start shopping splurges. You don’t want to make big purchases that could hurt your credit score or put you further in debt. This is the time to get your spending habits under control. Only purchase items you really need like basic necessities to keep your costs low.

6. Apply for any financial perks

When you’re worried about an upcoming layoff at work, consider checking in with your bank about any promotions going on. You might have an offer for a line of credit with a low interest rate, a better credit limit for your credit card, or any new features which could help you weather the financial storm of a layoff. Often, when unemployed, banks give out fewer perks as there’s more liability. So, double checking on what options are available to you right now can be helpful.

Read documents

1. Read your employee handbook

Your employee handbook might provide some insight into what to expect during a layoff. You might also re-read about some of the perks or benefits you currently have that you might want to check up on. Maybe you forgot to expense that last medication and reading that manual helps you add it in before it’s too late.

2. Search for information about employment insurance and law

Before a layoff, you’ll want to get to know what all your employment rights are. Maybe you do a deep-dive into the legalities of layoffs, how to negotiate better severance, or the exact percentage you’ll get for employment insurance. This is the time to get knee-deep in reading about employment insurance and law. You can read law websites about layoffs to get context about the rights people in your area have.

3. Read through information regarding equity

If you have equity in your company, you’ll want to find out if you can sell it or withdraw it in case of a layoff. You’ll also want to double check to see how much unsold equity you have outstanding to know if you’ll be losing money in case of a termination. Checking your company’s equity website will give you context about how many shares you currently have. If you’re thinking about selling it, you could speak with a financial advisor about it.

4. Download pay stubs or other key information

Some companies will give employees intranet access to key information upon their termination. However, in case you’re worried you won’t, you might want to download pay stubs and other key information that’s relevant to your employment. Going into your company intranet and downloading key information about your employment could be helpful to you in case you get laid off.

Take advantage of insurance

1. Do your annual check up

While preparing for a layoff, consider taking the time to do an annual check up. Head to your doctor for a quick check up while your insurance is still active. This will help keep any worries at bay while you look for your next gig. Getting a good health check will ensure you’re in tip top shape for your next role.

2. Pick up medication

Stocking up on medication before you lose your next job will ensure you have enough supply without having to pay the full price. Picking up your medication will help you take advantage of your insurance while you still have it, saving you tons of money. If your next refill is a while away, ask if you can pick up a generic version of the medication to help save on costs if you end up losing your job.

3. Visit the dentist or therapist

Take a look at all the benefits your insurance policy currently has. Visiting the dentist, therapist, eye doctor, or any other professional for a check-up can help you take avantage of your insurance before you possibly get laid off.

Start Your Job Search

1. Screenshot your accomplishments

When you get laid off, you lose access to data and other key metrics. You might have a folder of all your accomplishments and wins that you want to send to your email before your termination. Maybe you hit a specific traffic goal or you hit a sales target that was insanely high. Having these screenshots can be added to LinkedIn as proof of your success during your time at the company. You’ll be able to use these accomplishments for your resume and portfolio giving you a great way to showcase your impact to your next employer.

2. Update your resume

Updating your resume before getting laid off gives you a competitive advantage as you get an early start before everyone else. If you know you might get laid off soon, it’s time to add your current employer to your resume and start building it out. You can use a tool like Huntr if you need help coming up with bullet points to add to your resume. Huntr also has several beautiful templates you can choose from to build your resume online with a little help from AI.

3. Tailor your resume for roles

Once you have a base resume, you’ll want to tailor it for specific roles. You can use Huntr’s AI to help compare your resume to the job posting you want to apply to. It’ll highlight keywords from the job posting that you can add to your resume in only a couple of clicks to help you pass the screening process and land an actual interview. Tailoring your resume will improve your chances of landing a job because you’ll better match the qualifications an employer wants while showcasing the effort you went into putting onto your resume in the first place.

4. Update your LinkedIn

If you haven’t lost your job yet you don’t want to announce anything about layoffs or even speak about the company publicly at all. However, you might want to take a few minutes to optimize your LinkedIn page for recruiters. While you’re at the company, you can ask your colleagues for recommendations on LinkedIn. Tell them you’re not looking for a new job or anything you just want to start posting more actively on the platform so you don’t raise any red flags. You can add some of those screenshots you took to your LinkedIn profile to add proof of accomplishments so your LinkedIn profile becomes recruiter-ready.

5. Apply to positions while employed

To prepare for a layoff, it’s best to start applying to positions while still employed in your role. If you think layoffs will happen soon, you’ll get a headstart on your colleagues who’ll start the job search shortly after their termination happens. Believe it or not, there is such a thing as “resume gap bias.” The longer the gap between your last job and interview the harder it is to get hired. Applying for roles right away gives you an opportunity to be considered first, especially when layoffs end up happening.

6. Track your applications and interviews

Preparing for layoffs is all about organization. And your job search should also become an organization machine. You can use Huntr’s kanban board to track your applications and interviews online. It’ll store all job details from job postings when you apply using autofill applications.

7. Rehearse for job interviews

Going over common interview questions and practicing them before landing an interview will ensure you’re prepared when the moment arrives. You’ll want to spend hours rehearsing common questions. If there’s a mass layoff at your company, there could also be layoffs at other companies at the same time due to market conditions. So, you’ll be up against a lot of competition. You should use your time to practice as much as you can, so your interviews go smoothly.

Looking for a new job post-layoff?

If you’re worried about a layoff or recently got laid off, you can use Huntr to help aid your job search. With a resume builder that you can use AI to tailor your resume to your job posting, a job and interview tracker, autofill applications, and more great features, you’ll be able to land more interviews while staying organized during your job search. Sign-up for Huntr today!

Nicole Martins Ferreira

Nicole Martins Ferreira

Nicole Martins Ferreira, Senior Writer at Huntr, brings a rich background in marketing, tech, and ecommerce to craft insightful content on job search strategies and career advancement. With experience from Super Magic Taste to Shopify, she excels in creating engaging, actionable advice for job seekers.

Nicole's expertise in SEO and content marketing, honed across diverse roles, enables her to effectively guide individuals through the complexities of the job market. Her contributions at Huntr are vital, offering readers valuable tips and strategies to navigate their professional journeys successfully, making her work an invaluable resource for job seekers everywhere.

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